A Russian entrepreneurial advocacy group has filed a formal complaint with the head of state-run media holding VGTRK demanding he launch an investigation into an incendiary news broadcast that had accused a U.S. entrepreneur of "bringing harm" to Russia.
Kendrick White, who at the time of the broadcast had been serving as a vice rector at Nizhny Novgorod's Lobachevsky State University (UNN), was vacationing with his family on June 28 when VGTRK channel Rossia-1 aired a program portraying him as a sinister U.S. agent whose sole aim in Russia was to find talented young scientists in order to spirit them away to the West.
Two days after the damning broadcast aired, UNN announced White's dismissal on its website. A day later a university representative claimed White had only been relieved of his vice rector duties and would continue with UNN in some capacity.
White has since returned to Nizhny Novgorod and confirmed he would continue his work with the university.
In their complaint to VGTRK head Oleg Dobrodeyev, Russia's National Association of Business Angels (NABA) argued that the program and its public fallout had dealt a significant blow to the reputations of White and Russia alike.
"Building a modern, globally competitive economy has been among the Russian government's stated strategic priorities for the past couple of years. It's impossible to build such an economy without active international cooperation," which is compromised by programs like this, the organization's open letter to Dobrodeyev stated.
NABA demanded a thorough investigation into the program, and urged Dobrodeyev to refute all allegations against White determined to be groundless.